The Doctor and Martha arrive in present day Cardiff to refuel the TARDIS and are inexplicably thrust to a distant planet 100 trillion years into the future. When they arrive they realize they have an unexpected passenger in Captain Jack Harkness who has been patiently waiting for the Doctor's return since the mid-19th century. On the planet they eventually meet Professor Yana who is running the 1000-year old Utopia project, the aim of which is to relocate the human-like creatures to a new planet, away from the outsiders who they fear they will become if they don't leave. When Prof. Yana has need of someone to make repairs in a room in which no one can survive, the Doctor has the perfect candidate. The Professor is not what he seems to be however and Martha notices he has a fob watch much like one the Doctor recently made use of. Written by
Just before the start of the opening credits, the scene shifts from showing Jack clinging onto the TARDIS as it flies through the vortex to the Futurekind preparing for a human hunt. According to the DVD commentary, this had to be done, otherwise the opening credits - showing the TARDIS flying through the vortex - would have felt out of place without Jack being seen clinging to the outside. David Tennant and Russell T. Davies joke that they could have re-made the titles with Jack clinging onto the TARDIS and that a 'special edition' may be released in the future with a computer generated Captain Jack attached to the TARDIS. See more »
At the beginning of the episode, in which The Doctor and Martha have just landed in Cardiff, the two reference the Earthquake caused last time The Doctor was there. The Doctor mispronounces the name of the enemy, calling them The Slideen. The actual name of the characters are The Slitheen. See more »
A very important episode of the series with Graeme Harper on excellent form
From the exciting beginning on modern-day Earth (Cardiff to be exact) to the exhilaratingly dark scenes at the very end of the universe itself, this is a cracking ride that grips the viewer from the onset and doesn't let go.
Jack's back and it's a genuine pleasure to see John Barrowman's character weave his sexual magnetism on man, woman and bug-person alike. The chemistry between Barrowman and Tennant is marvellous and the conversation between the two men as Jack works in the radiation chamber is one of my favourites of the season.
The legendary Derek Jacobi is perfect as the lovely Professor, striving to save mankind from extinction by launching the rocket to a mysterious far-off Utopia, and Chipo Chung is a delight as his blue-skinned, insectoid companion.
No spoilers here but this episode ties up plot points in a beautiful fashion. While I've been critical of some of Russel T. Davies' scripts in the past, this one is faultless. It's just a shame that the big surprise was leaked / speculated over even before this series began - always the danger thesedays, I guess. Still, "Utopia" remains a very clever piece of television and one that will have the forums buzzing for some time.
As always in recent weeks, as the end credits roll, I'm left genuinely gob-smacked. It's great to know you're watching something that will one day be regarded as a classic. The series has matured over the last three years and it's entered a zone where the team are pushing everything as far as they can and leaving no creative opportunities unexplored. This is thoroughly exciting, innovative television that will be influencing future generations of writers, producers and directors. Television today really doesn't get any better than this.
Full marks, 10 out of 10.
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